Three closers continued to put their jobs in serious jeopardy. Jon Lester finally pitched up to expectations. Tim Lincecum did what he always does. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Octavio Dotel (2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K) - That makes six straight appearances where he’s given up a run, blowing yet another save. How can the Pirates continue to run him out there? I spoke about Evan Meek the other day (click here to view http://rotoprofessor.com/baseball/?p=6218) and he definitely could be worth the flyer, as he or Joel Hanrahan will get the first crack at it.
- Trevor Hoffman (1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) - Like Dotel, how could the Brewers possibly keep running him out there? He’s allowed runs in six of his nine outings this season. You would have thought LaTroy Hawkins would be the likely replacement, but he’s got a 7.71 ERA (he had allowed runs in three of his five previous outings prior to today). Carlos Villanueva, who hasn’t given up a run in 12 innings, could get the call. The Brewers have already said that he’s not being replaced, but they may start looking to other ninth inning options.
- Neftali Feliz (1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K, SV) – He didn’t blow the save, but this is the third time in his last four outings that he has allowed runs. Considering the way Frank Francisco has turned things around, I would anticipate the Rangers going back to him full-time (he picked up a save on Tuesday) any day now. If someone in your league gave up on him, I wouldn’t hesitate to scoop him back up.
- John Maine (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 9 K, W) – Is this the turning point for Maine, entering the game with an 8.64 ERA and 2.10 WHIP. Would I have complete faith in him off this one start against one of the better offenses? Not at all, though with his next start coming against the Reds he could conceivably be worth considering. Personally, I’d give him at least one more start before taking any type of a gamble on him because everyone could have just one good start mixed into the mess.
- Tim Lincecum (8.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 11 K) - I don’t care how many pitches he’d thrown (106), you cannot take Lincecum out of the game that close to finish. I know Brian Wilson is one of the better closers, but it has to feel like the Giants gave this one away. Plus, Lincecum owners cannot be too pleased.
- Jon Lester (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 11 K, W) - He showed signs in his last start (5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 K) and now he appears to have found his form. He is one of the best pitchers in the game and should certainly be active for his next start, which comes against the Angels.
- James Shields (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 12 K, W) – What a start for Shields, but be a little cautious. He’s a solid strikeout pitcher, but 12? He hadn’t reached double-digit strikeouts since July 1, 2007 against the Indians. Don’t look for him to replicate that type of success, but at 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA, he clearly is a solid option in all formats.
- Mike Leake (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, W) - Who needs minor league experience? All he needs to do is get his control in order (15 walks in 27.2 innings) and he would be a usable option in all formats. His next start comes at home against the Mets, a team who is smoking hot right now, so I would still think twice before slotting him in for another week.
- Jamie Garcia (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K, W) - It’s easy to get excited about his 1.04 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, but you have to take into account that he’s sporting a .221 BABIP and 80.8% strand rate. He’s always been a good option, so don’t look for him to suddenly become unusable, but he is obviously going to regress soon enough.
- Chone Figgins (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 SB) - We all know he’s struggled, entering the game hitting .183, but we also all know he’s better than that. Hopefully today was the first sign of him turning the corner. He’s certainly worth using in deeper formats.
- Jorge Cantu (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) - Unbelievable. Is this guy ever going to slump? He’s gone hitless in just one game all season, now hitting .291 with 5 HR and 22 RBI. Is he a top option? No, but he’s usable in all formats, especially with 3B eligibility.
- Chris Young (2-4, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 R) - He’s now on a 7-game hitting streak, going 12-29 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB. Clearly, the hits weren’t producing runs prior to today, but if you keep hitting the results will come, especially when you hit in the middle of the line-up. Overall he’s hitting .298 with 4 HR and 21 RBI on the year, helping owners to forget the past few years. Of course, given his career .279 BABIP (entering today he was at .333), the average could quickly get away from him. Still, at this point with his speed/power threat, he’s a must use in all formats for the time being.
- Nick Markakis (3-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) - Fantasy owners have been waiting patiently (or at least you should have been) and he finally delivered a long ball. This easily could be the start of a nice little hot streak.
What are your thoughts from yesterday’s games? Which of these stories interests you most? Did anything else catch your eye?
To read the previous article, click here.